10 September 2017

Regimental numbers are windows into the past


A regimental number is like a window into the past. And for many soldiers for whom no service or pension records survive, it may often be the only window.

This blog will demonstrate why regimental numbers are so important for today's family and military historians. To illustrate this have taken a list of men from the King's Royal Rifle Corps whose names were all published in The Times on the 30th January 1915. All had been posted as missing; and officially notified by the War Office on the 6th December 1914.

I've arranged the numbers chronologically. If - and it's a big IF - these numbers had all been issued to men joining the regular battalions - that's the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions - it would be a simple job to identify when these men joined the KRRC. However, there will be men in this list who had originally enlisted with the 5th (Special Reserve) or 6th (Extra Reserve) Battalion, and both of these battalions operated their own distinct regimental number series.

I am often queried why someone's regimental number does not fit with the sequences I have published on this blog. "It can't possibly be correct..." goes the hypothetical cry, "according to your information he must have enlisted in 1894 when he was nine!  The answer is invariably that the ancestor concerned did not originally enlist with a regular battalion - and remember, it's mostly regular battalions that I have concentrated on to date - but with a special or extra reserve battalion; or later, a Territorial Force battalion or New Army battalion.

But for the purpose of this exercise - and because I don't have the time to look at each of these 229 records individually - let's assume that all of these men were issued with these numbers when they enlisted as career soldiers with the King's Royal Rifle Corps.

The first man on this list was certainly a career man. Philip Horace Taylor originally enlisted at Aldershot in 1898. His service record shows that he served in the Boer War and was reported missing and a prisoner of war on the 3rd November 1914. He would spend the rest of the war in captivity and would finally be transferred to Class Z of the Army Reserve in 1919 having served 21 years and 37 days; enough time to claim a pension.


So Private Turner appears to be the longest-serving man here, but  - and assuming we're just talking about regulars, remember - all the men in this first group had joined the KRRC while Queen Victoria was still on the throne:

802 Pte Philip Horace Taylor
891 Pte J Barrett
900 Pte W Walton
1182 Pte F Wood
1315 Pte J Murphy
1403 Pte J Benson
1447 Pte J Brady
1466 Col-Sgt Harry W Charles
2043 Pte F Potter
2125 Pte G Winsor
2151 Pte H Turner
2179 Pte J Speak
2200 Pte A Duggan

In order for these pre-August 1900 KRRC enlistments to still be serving in August 1914 they must have either re-engaged to complete 21 years with the colours OR enlisted as Section D reservists. This would have extended their period on the reserve for a further four years. As a reward for this commitment they were paid the grand sum of 6d per day. Colour-Sergeant Harry Charles had certainly re-engaged and must have cursed his luck - and the odd German - when he was captured at Ypres on the 2nd November 1914. He has a number of papers held by the International Committee of the Red Cross archive. Follow the ICRC PoW link to search for prisoners of war. The site is FREE!


2262 Pte J Walsh
2268 Pte B Cocker
2274 Pte W Corser
2463 Pte J Wilkins
2471 Pte J Street
2499 Pte T McQueeney
2563 Pte G Clarke
2569 Pte T Farley
2570 Pte A Payne
2573 Sgt F Tyler
2727 Pte W Eaton
2989 Pte S Johnston
3033 Pte N Bartley
3069 Pte S Sykes
3334 Pte Bert Cooper (enlisted 7th December 1900)
3347 Pte Samuel Beach

Numbers in this range would have been issued to regulars joining up in 1901:

3347 Pte Samuel Beach
3487 Pte Jonathan Bingham
3575 Pte W Wilson
3686 Pte J Lalley
3917 Pte H Clarke
3939 Pte S Pammant
3963 Pte W Bailey
3998 Pte H Chesterton
4081 Pte E Revell
4139 Pte T Ball

Numbers in this range would have been issued to regulars joining up in 1902:

4170 Pte J Cade
4187 Pte Eli Henry Meecham
4210 Pte W Birkett joined on the 28th January 1902
4221 Pte A Grant
4245 Pte C Moore
4250 Pte W Cox
4320 Pte J Watt
4330 Pte P Murphy
4368 Pte A Stockwell
4390 L-Cpl J Brown
4499 Bugler C Simpson
4563 Pte P Newton
4581 Pte J Sheldon
4658 Pte J Whalley
4660 Pte J Conley
4685 Pte J Barfield
4771 Pte H Jayes
4808 Pte W Jones
4813 Pte F Adfield
4841 Pte J Roberts
4944 Pte W Leyland
5075 Pte J Allen
5098 Pte T Hill
5225 Pte J Rafferty

These numbers would all have been issued to career KRRC enlisting in 1903:

5260 Pte W Andrews
5297 Pte J Quinn
5406 Pte R Robinson
5432 Pte T Batson
5454 Pte G Ashton
5502 Pte W Towler
5529 Pte C Thompson
5575 Pte A Garrison
5602 Pte J Dunn
5608 Pte W Gilbert
5630 Pte J Fell
5704 Pte H Donnelly
5710 Pte J Kempton

And so on...

The point is that by analysing the regimental numbers it is possible to work out not only when a man joined the regiment but also what his subsequent service probably looked like. I find this actually more interesting than analysing service records; although I have plenty of experience of doing both - drop me a line if I can help you with your research.

5743 Pte W Barker
5782 Pte G Savigar
5794 Pte G Samuels
5813 Pte J Cook
5856 Pte A Nash
5871 Pte W Garner
5875 Pte G Allen
5894 Pte W Fox
5903 Pte F Mockford
5909 Pte E Barker
5910 Pte C Hurt
5915 Pte R Topper
5922 Pte A Dean
5980 Pte H Drummond
5997 Pte L Broadbent
6036 Pte J Cannon
6047 L-Cpl W Meadley
6088 Pte G Wolliter
6133 Pte J Forengo
6136 Pte J Holden
6205 L-Cpl J Almond
6277 Pte J Cahill
6297 Pte P Gunning
6385 Pte T Campey
6410 Pte F Jagger
6434 Pte E Myers
6457 Pte S Bowers
6511 L-Cpl F Callaway


What is easy to forget when looking at the lists of 1914 casualties is the loss to the British Army in terms of experience. Many of these men had more than a dozen years' service under their belts before they sailed for France in 1914. They were efficient at musketry and drill, and many of them would have served throughout the British Empire.

6514 Pte E Stinson
6522 Pte W Swingle
6539 L-Cpl G Cooper
6556 Pte C Crook
6579 Pte M Stephenson
6605 Pte J Franklin
6630 Pte H Freeman
6651 Pte G Coake
6678 Pte F Harratt
6681 Pte C Cammaeron
6687 Pte J McDermott
6697 Pte J Blunt
6710 Pte T Maughan
6751 Pte W Phillips
6759 Sgt S Thompson

Men from about this point onwards are all enlistments from 1907 onwards. Typical terms of enlistment at this time would have seven years with the colours and five on the reserve, although if a man was serving overseas during his period of colour service he could expect to actually serve eight years with the colours and four years on the reserve.

6759 Sgt S Thompson
6791 Pte G Davies
6833 Pte H Greenwood
6978 Pte W Freatwell
6987 Pte W Champion
7022 Pte J Fereday
7026 Pte W Emery
7055 Pte L Posnett
7064 Pte W Smith
7067 Cpl H Revell
7110 Pte C Cully
7120 Pte T Starkie
7141 Pte J Meakins
7165 L-Cpl S Crockett
7209 Pte F Roberts
7247 L-Cpl O Mullarkey
7270 Pte W Colfar
7300 Pte W Chapman
7316 Pte R Fitt
7320 Sgt T Painting
7334 Pte J Parker
7339 Pte W Pallin
7358 Pte B Edmunds
7364 Pte D Kingston
7370 Pte S Hill
7411 Cpl A Chapman
7414 Pte C Easden
7417 Pte J Farrell
7418 Pte W Brown
7442 Pte A Smithurst

7462 Pte V Conn
7469 Pte W Ryan
7502 Pte W Collins
7512 Pte J Coleman
7531 Pte C Amass
7540 Pte B Gayler
7574 Pte R Chambers
7590 Pte F Hines
7649 Pte H Bradley
7659 Pte George Cutler
7867 Pte J Whitney
7871 Pte S Shemmings
7890 Pte J Lee
7947 Pte Thomas Baister
8002 Pte S Chater
8011 Pte A Mullins
8032 Pte W Johnson
8047 L-Cpl E Amies
8058 L-Cpl J Garwood
8115 Pte D Cullimore

Use my snapshot of KRRC enlistment dates in my King's Royal Rifle Corps to work out for yourself when the men in this list would have joined the regiment. Don't forget too that many of the men in this list will also appear in my list of KRRC prisoners of war. I'll publish that soon. 

8679 Col-Sgt J Reynolds
9111 Sgt S Gilbert
9277 Pte A Day
9354 Pte C Casey
9358 Cpl P Freeman
9373 Pte F Noble
9379 Pte H Beel
9452 L-Cpl T Waud
9579 Pte H Walters
9749 Pte P Broughton
9842 Pte J Burke
9866 Pte C Ayres
10006 Cpl A Morgan
10043 Pte F White
10324 Cpl A Lee
10346 Pte G Stonham
10436 L-Cpl W Dalby
10462 Pte H Moore
10463 Pte A Pitman
10526 Pte P Bell
10530 Pte C Parrott
10688 Pte T Day
10718 Pte C Wills
10768 Pte G Young
10777 Pte R Cox
10892 Pte S Booker

All of the men below had only joined the regiment in 1913 and thus could still be considered to have been learning their craft as soldiers.

10912 Pte A Burridge
10928 Pte E Paveley
10933 Pte W Ward
10948 Pte W Allen
10950 Pte H Sims
10963 Pte A Fry
10976 Pte G Pearson
10977 Pte W Ramsay
10980 Pte G Symes
10983 Pte P Brown
10990 Pte A Lloyd
11002 Pte W Strong
11005 Pte R Reeve
11012 Pte A Beale
11013 Pte L Price
11025 Pte W Soppitt
11027 Pte Walter John Shubrook
11046 Pte George Henry Peter Lanz
11049 Pte S Francis
11054 Pte A Silverton
11082 Pte B Pocock
11100 Pte G Ford
11101 Pte F Williams
11104 Pte H Thorpe
11133 Pte A Gilbert
11134 Pte J Reynolds
11140 Pte B Brown
11141 Pte G Walker
11145 L-Cpl F Adams
11151 Pte A Evans
11214 Pte B Wood
11246 Pte H Tiplady
11262 Pte L Davis
11296 Pte E Morgan

The last two men on this list are both 1914 enlistments, still wet behind the ears:

11319 Pte H Searle
11545 Pte F Thomas

All photos on this post are from my own KRRC collection. Service record extract courtesy of The National Archives.

3 September 2017

Leinster Regiment - other rank PoWs 1914


There are sixty-six names on this list which have been transcribed from a single source held at the Imperial War Museum. Catalogue reference B.O.2 1/258 is a four-page typed list of Leinster Regiment Prisoners of War, sent on 23rd December 1918 by the Leinster Regiment Prisoners of War Fund to Sir Ernest Goodhart. My full transcription of this Leinster Regiment PoW roll call also gives the men's home addresses.  

You can read more about this Prisoner of War data source on my 1914 PoWs page. The image on this post shows a rather fetching Victor Hawkins who, as far as I know was not a Leinster Regiment man but was a PoW at Dulmen. "Camp Theatre Dulmen" is somewhat appropriate here.


For help with your own regimental numbering or military research conundrums, check out my military research service. 

6858 Private James Berry 
9876 Private John Broderick 
6358 Private Frederick Brown 
7597 Corporal Philip Byrne 
7215 Private William Byrne 
7004 Private Patrick Byrnes 
8257 Private Edward T Bywaters 
9794 Private Joseph Campbell 
7762 Sergeant John Cannon 
6859 Private Thomas Carroll 
7977 Private William Collins 
7106 Patrick Condon 
9729 Lance-Corporal Michael Dalton 
9400 Private Patrick Donovan 
7421 Private William Doyle 
7309 Private James Driscoll 
10007 Private Charles Dunne 
8784 Private Francis Farrell 
9289 Corporal John Fox 
6865 Private Martin Gallagher 
9812 Private John Geraghty 
6056 Private John Glennon 
7046 Private John Hallissey
6839 Private Fenton Hanbury 
4196 Private Alfred Hayden 
7874 Private John Healy 
9739 Private Richard Hegarty 
9170 Private William Hennessy 
9766 Lance-Corporal James Henshaw 
9703 Private Patrick Hickey 
6724 Private Thomas Hogan 
7732 Private Michael Hourigan 
6979 Private James Jackson 
7868 Private Thomas Keane 
9517 Private Patrick Lawlor 
8673 Private James Leavey 
9683 Private Richard Lombard 
6829 Private Benjamin Madden 
10011 Private John Markey 
5580 Private John McCormack 
9869 Private Michael McDonagh 
8324 Sergeant John McDougall 
5031 CSM Charles Mercer 
9543 Lance-Corporal John Moloney 
8391 Sergeant John Moran 
7663 Private Edward Morrison 
7345 John Murphy 
9836 Private Michael Murphy 
7712 Private William Murphy 
7350 Private John Nally 
8791 Lance-Sergeant Joseph O'Brien 
7235 Private William O'Brien 
4390 Private Felix O'Donoghue 
10047 Private Denis O'Neill 
7632 Private Thomas Poland 
3039 Private John Revington 
7953 Private John Roberts 
9726 Private Edward Robertson 
10028 Private Thomas Roche 
8057 Private John Sheehan 
5269 Private Patrick Sweeney 
7154 Private James Walsh 
7145 Private Francis Warby 
6847 Private Joseph Ward 
9857 Private George Williams 
7077 Private Michael Young

26 August 2017

South Wales Borderers - Other Rank PoWs 1914


A message from an online pal last week, advising me that I needn't bother transcribing South Wales Borderers PoWs because they'd already been done elsewhere, reminded me that I should probably publish what I have. I transcribed all of these PoW lists during lunch breaks at the office a few years ago, and I've been drip-feeding them onto this blog ever since.

There are ninety-four names on this list which have been transcribed from a single source held at the Imperial War Museum. Catalogue reference B.O.2 1/300 is a handwritten letter and two page typed list of South Wales Borderers submitted by No 1 Infantry Record Office, No 4 District, Shrewsbury; letter dated 28th January 1919.  My full transcription of this South Wales Borderers prisoners of war roll call of other ranks (not reproduced here) also contains the men's home addresses and whether or not they had been repatriated.

You can read more about this Prisoner of War data source on my 1914 PoWs pageThe image on this post shows PoWs at Minden camp, date unknown.

For help with your own regimental numbering or military research conundrums, check out my military research service. 

6313 Private W Anderson
10309 Acting Sergeant E Bailey
8592 Drummer S H Bailey
7832 Private W Bates
8376 Private R H Beadles
11003 Lance-Corporal A H Betty
10414 Private P Brian
8713 Private R Burrows
9093 Private J Callan
6231 Private P Campbell
10899 Lance-Corporal F Chipp
9646 Private J E Collman
8587 Private F Courtney
10829 Private H W F Cowdery
8313 Private F Davies
8105 Lance-Corporal S Davies
11006 Private W Davies
10578 Private W Davies
8118 Private E Digby
9290 Private S G Dolling
11739 Pte David Driscoll
9702 Private C English
7925 Private J Evans
10744 Private M G Evans
6220 Private W H Eyles
10896 Private J Flynn
8026 Private W France
9396 Private F Franklin
13228 Corporal J Gilmore
9074 Private F J Goodger
10786 Private S Griffiths
8467 Private A Hall
8842 Corporal A Hall
10296 Private A R Hall
13032 Private L Hancock
9856 Private William Harris
8011 Private S Hathaway
9185 Private G Hawkins
6103 Private J Hayes
10904 Lance-Corporal A A Herbert
7785 Private C S Hiron
10523 Private H C Holland
10809 Lance-Corporal H Hollywell
10921 Private H Hughes
10327 Pte Sidney A James
7255 Private W James
11871 Private O Jenkins
11854 Private H John
6924 Private T Johnson
6323 Private H Jones
7974 Private J Jones
9155 Pte David J Kenvin
6221 Private D Leach
10746 Lance-Corporal C Lewis
7394 Private J Lewis
11054 Private N Lewis
9073 Private A Livingstone
11415 Sergeant H Mellor
8800 Private D Meredith
8868 Sergeant W Milford
6207 Private F Millward
11681 Private J Morgan
10925 Private G Morrisey
6466 Private J Murphy
7889 Private J Murphy
8506 Private E Newcombe
11724 Private J Padfield
9835 Private W J Penington
10628 Pte Thomas G Perry
10917 Lance-Corporal F D Phillips
9165 Private G Phillips
8555 Lance-Sergeant W G Redhead
11749 Private T Rees
9375 Private G Richards
9045 Pte Walter R Samuels
9530 Private E Shaw
10887 Private E Slade
8113 Private J Smith
8950 Private William Smith
7418 Private W Spooner
11113 Private D Sullivan
10755 Corporal H Taylor
7922 Private W J Taylor
9749 Private A Tidey
8873 Private R E Turner
8064 Private T Tweedle
7335 Private R Welch
9536 Private J West
8977 Private W J Wheeler
9100 Private J Willenbrook
7801 Private H T Williams
10562 Private J Williams
8228 Private T J Williams
8743 Private J Wiltshire

13 August 2017

Looking beyond the MICs


If your British Army Ancestor served overseas during the First World War there should be an MIC (medal index card) recording his medal entitlement. And if there's a medal index card there should be one or more medal roll entries. The latter can often add detail not found on the medal index card such as a battalion or unit, a date killed in action, or a date discharged. For some soldiers, this may be all that survives in terms of documented evidence of service. 

It is well-known that the majority of service records - 60 per cent is the figure commonly offered - was destroyed in bombing during the Second World War, hence the need to fully understand and explore what's left. As I often tell people, the medal index card had a specific purpose and that was to record the unit/s a man served with overseas. This information was then used when it came to impressing the correct details on the man's medals. Any service in the UK with other units prior to embarkation should not appear on the medal index card (or medal roll/s) although there are plenty of instances where this instruction was not followed. 

The sentence in bold is important to understand because when looking at a man's medal index card, the first unit that appears on it may not have been the first unit he served with.

I have just completed an interesting research project for man - 'boy' would be a more accurate description - who was captured by the Germans on the opening day of their spring offensive on the 21st March 1918. This soldier's regimental number indicated to me that he must have joined the battalion in late January or early February 1918. However, when I looked more closely, there was compelling evidence to suggest that he was probably a conscript and probably first spent time with one of two - and possibly both - Training Reserve battalions. This would not have been possible without a closer analysis of his regimental number.

Digging deeper to discover this is important because it helps to explain the logical path to the Western Front that this particular man took.  Luckily for him, his time in the trenches was short-lived, and surviving documents held by the ICRC outlined where he was held.

The undated photograph that I have used on this post shows prisoners of war at Stendal camp.

I research soldiers!


3 August 2017

Regimental museums


The Passchendaele commemorations this week have certainly stimulated a flurry of emails to me with requests for research; probably more so than for the Somme centenary last year. What an incredibly moving ceremony at Ypres on the 30th July, and how nice to hear the voices of the men who were there, many of their recollections recorded when they were late-middle aged in the 1960s.

A number of my correspondents have mentioned having been in touch with regimental museums with research enquiries and whilst this post does not aim to be a mouthpiece for these valuable resources, here are a few observations.

1. With the exception of the five regiments  of Foot Guards at Wellington Barracks, and the Household Cavalry museum, regimental archives do not hold service records of soldiers. These are all held by the National Archives and all have been digitised and published by Ancestry and Findmypast. WO 400 (Household Cavalry) records have also been published by The National Archives.
2. Regimental archives MAY have other papers that mention a soldier by name and most seem to offer a research service, often staffed by knowledgeable volunteers. Typical reference material here may be a menntion in Part II Orders, where these (rarely) survive, a mention in a regimental journal, or reference in material submitted by the individual or family members in later years.
3. In my experience none, of the regimental archives that I have come across have gone into the forensic level detail on regimental numbers that I have conducted over the past fifteen years. With the notable exception of the Royal Army Service Corps, I have plotted regimental number patterns and dates of enlistment for ALL regiments and ALL battalions or sub-units within regiments for the years 1881 to 1918 (and did the line cavalry, a good deal earlier than that, too). What you see on this site is a fraction of the research I have undertaken and, for that matter, am still undertaking.

So my advice would be that it may be worth contacting the relevant regimental museum in your quest for information about a British Army ancestor, but don't be surprised if the answer comes back that there is no information to be found and that they can't tell you anything about when his regimental number would have been issued, or whether, if he served in the First World War, your man was a regular soldier, a volunteer, s Derby Scheme recruit, or a conscript; and they can't tell you when he was likely to have proceeded overseas (assuming this information is not recorded on the medal index card) or when he was likely to have been wounded. And when you get that disapppinting response, drop me a line because I will almost certainly be able to tell you something. See the RESEARCH tab on this blog for more information.

Image courtesy The BBC.


18 July 2017

Researching your British Army ancestors just became cheaper


My database of British regimental numbers has been largely built by using online resources. I've been a subscriber to Findmypast for eight years, and an Ancestry subscriber for close to fifteen years I should think. For me, subscriptions are essential, a necessary annual expense.

Which leads me nicely into this new offer from Findmypast, 10% off the price of a UK or World subscription.

The UK sub suits me just fine as I have few overseas ancestors and I use it pretty much exclusively for military records these days. There is a wealth of military data: the worldwide British Army indexes for 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871, the British Army Service records (far more records indexed on Findmypast than at Ancestry), Scots Guards, Honourable Artillery Company, Tanks, Artillery... it goes on. With so much on offer,I consider a full-price sub to be a bargain, let alone a sub that offers 10 PER CENT OFF!

This is a time-limited offer which starts at 12.01am GMT this evening (ie one minute past midnight on the 19th July) and ends at 11.59pm GMT on Sunday 30th July.

Grab yourself a bargain by following the links on this page. This offer is only being promoted through partners like me, so don't miss out!

17 July 2017

East Surrey Regiment - PoW Other Ranks 1914


There are 119 men on this list of East Surrey other ranks who were captured by the Germans on or before Christmas Day 1914. In due course, all of these men - all those who survived, anyway - would be sent Princess Mary's gift to the troops; and this is the list of those men who were to receive that gift.

10730 Pte Thomas Hughes does not appear on this 6-page typed list which was sent to Sir Ernest Goodhart by the officer i/c East Surrey Section, Infantry Record Office, Hounslow and which is today catalogued as B.O.2 1/171by the Imperial War Museum. Nevertheless, Hughes was certainly a prisoner and has a report in WO 161 which can be accessed on Findmypast (and via The National Archives' website).  There may be other omissions too.

The image on this site is one that may be familiar to past readers of this blog and my Chailey blog, and shows 6738 Private Sabourin (middle row, far left) who was wounded and captured on the opening day of the Battle of Mons on the 23rd August 1914. The photo of him and other convalescents was taken at Chailey in 1915 after he had been repatriated.


I research soldiers!

10678 Private H Baldwin
7664 Private C Barnes
10601 Private T A Barron
6674 Private A G Beckley
10441 Private E H Benford
5977 Private A J Bennett
6852 Private T Bennett
10509 Private G D Betts
5299 Private John G Blacklaws
8667 Private F Blay
10162 Private D Bloomfield
9053 Private H Bowyer
8003 Private G W Burge
8928 Private D J Burne
10709 Private J Butler
10431 Private H A Byford
9895 Private W H Cain
6060 Private W Cannell
7998 Private R Casey
7544 Private W Casey
7190 Private W J Castle
10346 Private W Chamberlain
10168 Private G Clark
8178 Private J Clark
8430 Private G Clarke
9300 Private T K Collis
9953 Lance-Corporal Harry Condon
9065 Drummer William Condon
10591 Private A E Cook
8242 Private H Cook
10781 Private B Cornwall
8742 Private A Cotsford
5395 Sergeant A G Craven
10761 Private F Dawes
7716 Private P Donovan
8716 Private E J Durham
8993 Private E Elliott
7753 Private E Ellis
7680 Private A English
7743 Private J Evans
10319 Lance-Corporal Ewyer
10238 Private H Farmaner
5522 Private W J Finn
8904 Private H B Frost
10425 Private A E Fullex
10468 Private W Gatland
10475 Private A G Giles
9357 Lance-Corporal W G Goodyear
7219 Private D Gosnell
9759 Private H E Grant
6660 Private H Halfpenny
10210 Private P Harding
6098 Private A C Hardy
6992 Private H Harris
9382 Private G Harvey
8418 Private W E Hawkins
10079 Private M R Healy
8240 Lance-Corporal D J Hearn
8025 Private H E Holland
10561 Private S G Hooper
8099 Private L Hubbard
10216 Private J S Humphrey
7736 Private C A Irvin
7844 Private S G Joanes
10412 Private J R Johnson
9333 Private A Jones
7610 Private C Jones
10634 Private R W Jones
8133 Private T Jones
9326 Private H E Kawson
10197 Private F King
10508 Private W A Lewis
7502 Private W R Lloyd
9001 Private A Lock
8112 Private W Marke
9516 Private W J McFarlane
7684 Thomas M Moore
7859 Private R Morgan
10623 Private J Munday
10031 Lance-Corporal W R Neale
10918 Private Harry Newton
10729 Private J Oakley
7959 Private M O'Connor
10329 Private W Parry
10081 Private F J Press 
7751 Private H Priggen 
10550 Private F Purdy 
10087 Private T Richfield 
6738 Private C Sabourin 
10102 Private Frederick S Samworth 
10312 Private F Sayers 
8117 Private G Searle 
7867 Private C T Sherlock 
8276 Private H E Shipling 
8182 Private Albert Sills 
7916 Private J W Smith 
8659 Private W J Sorrell 
7706 Private H Stanton 
7712 Private E Sullivan 
9849 Private H D Taylor 
7910 Private W J Telford 
10462 Private H C Thomas 
5585 Private J Tripp 
8783 Private A Trower 
8160 Private Albert Turrington 
8245 Private W Tutin 
8572 Private G Vary 
7698 Private H J Vince 
10621 Private H W Wales 
7930 Private P Walker
8496 Private W J Wallington 
10590 Private E Wallis 
10027 Private W Walter 
10717 Private C W Ward 
10710 Private F Warren 
4130 Private C Westlake 
10341 Private E Wood 
7892 Private H S Wyatt 
7501 Private I Young

10 July 2017

Bedfordshire Regt wounded, November 1914


I've been transcribing - for some while now - non fatal casualties reported in The Times newspaper for 1914. I expect to complete this task this year and will then augment the data with other 1914 data.

The men listed below all served with the Bedfordshire Regiment and were all reported as having been wounded. Their names were notifed to the War Office on the 27th November 1914 and they appeared in a casualty list published in The Times on the 5th January 1915.

I publish this small sample here because it serves as useful spotlight on the British Army at this particular time. I have not anlaysed this list of wounded men in particular depth but I can tell, by looking as far as 6927 APte Arthur Mabbott, that there are a lot of men from the Special Reserve in this list. I have indicated this by noting (3rd Battalion) next to their names, although this detail does not appear in the official casualty lists.

It is important to note the difference between regular soldiers and men of the Special Reserve. Whereas the former were career soldiers, the Special Reserve were men who had enlisted for part-time soldiering only, albeit they would have known that they would be sent out as drafts to the regular battalions if they were needed.  It is also important to remember that the regular 1st and 2nd Battalions adopted a completely different regimental numbering sequence to the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion. So whereas 6313 Joseph Knightley, for instance, must have enlisted as a career soldier in July 1898, 6237 Pte William Levitt and 6381 Pte J Smith had both enlisted in 1910.

Such important distinctions are not generally noted in casualty lists, although the simple addition of a 3/ prefix to the special reservists' numbers would have made it very obvious what these men's origins were and when they had enlisted.

What this list says to me though is that already, by November 1914, the Bedfordshire Regiment had suffered significant losses and had already taken in large numbers of men from the Special Reserve. These men too, were now returning back to England as wounded soldiers.

I research soldiers!

4677 Pte Arthur Worbey 
5366 Sgt G Hodge 
5373 Sgt E Hutchinson 
6037 Pte A Mills 
6108 Pte Alfred Richardson (3rd Battalion)
6137 Pte Arthur Holt (3rd Battalion)
6234 Pte S Webb 
6237 Pte Roger William Levitt (3rd Battalion)
6313 Pte Joseph Knightley 
6381 Pte J Smith (3rd Battalion)
6388 Pte John T Bates 
6494 Pte Arthur Green 
6512 Pte Albert S Fitch 
6707 Pte Harry Darlow (3rd Battalion)
6712 Pte W Waller 
6779 Pte A Abbott 
6827 Pte Charles Harley 
6849 Pte J F Randall (3rd Battalion)
6858 Pte Charles Gregory (3rd Battalion)
6916 Pte Abel Clark (3rd Battalion)
6927 Pte Arthur Mabbott (3rd Battalion)
6991 Pte G Thompson 
7017 Pte B Wood 
7030 Pte J Keep 
7066 Pte F Gooding 
7171 Pte S Evans 
7174 Pte A Butler 
7216 Pte F Coppin 
7289 Pte W Webb 
7398 Pte H Gray 
7412 Pte E Carter 
7451 Pte Arthur H Haile 
7570 Pte J Goodwin 
7612 Sgt P Chandler 
7656 Pte A Turner 
7730 Pte J Fensome 
7936 Bandsman E Clarke 
8306 Sgt P Folkard 
8355 L-Sgt W Gale 
8388 Bandsman E Fynn 
8398 Pte W Millard 
8441 Sgt C Guerin 
8458 Sgt E Endersby 
8469 Pte F Wright 
8509 Pte E Keogh 
8548 Pte F Crew 
8555 Pte E H Reid 
8591 Sgt G Roper 
8692 Pte C Smith 
8742 Pte J Marney 
8812 Cpl A Smith 
8841 Dmr A Pearcey 
8874 Pte F Richardson 
8922 Pte C J Hooper 
8939 Pte I Afford 
8963 Pte W Shaw 
8978 Pte J Hornett 
8981 Pte A Chandler 
8982 Sgt F Bulley
 9024 Cpl J Newby 
9035 Pte J Ellis 
9047 Pte F Braybrook 
9074 Pte T Gardiner 
9097 Pte A Jeeves 
9134 Pte H Cooper 
9135 Pte H Gear 
9220 Pte G Webster
9231 L-Cpl H Halls 
9260 Pte G Harlott
9264 Cpl W R Brown 
9267 Pte Frank Bird 
9278 Pte J Eccles 
9294 Pte S Webb 
9299 Pte A Chennells 
9326 Pte W Robinson 
9337 Pte Edward Boxall 
9349 Pte J King 
9385 Pte A Beard
9397 L-Cpl G Taylor 
9419 Pte C Wright 
9445 Pte E Larman 
9459 Pte G Ellis 
9475 L-Cpl T Sharpe 
9503 Pte O Denton 
9544 L-Cpl E Pepper 
9581 Pte W Papworth 
9594 Pte J Goodhead 
9595 Pte J Sharp 
9598 Cpl F Robinson 
9648 Pte A Skinner 
9655 Pte E Parker 
9690 Pte H Osborne 
9712 Pte D Lydle 
9726 Pte A Gilbey 
9744 Pte G Butler 
9756 Pte A Tomlinson 
9759 Pte S Simons 
9804 Pte G Cope 
9808 Pte P Clark 
9819 Pte Arthur Richardson 
9826 Pte S Rumbles 
9837 Pte S J Folwell 
9867 Pte W Mardling 
9869 Pte A R Maydwell 
9891 Pte A Mee 
9951 Pte H Wright 
9973 Pte R Franklin 
10017 Pte W G Watson 
10030 Pte A Woodcock 
10031 Pte G Brown 
10041 Pte J Reid 
10042 Pte A Fitzjohn 
10048 Pte W White 
10081 Pte H Denton 
10144 Cpl P Sandilands 
10145 Pte T J Harris 
10171 Pte W Austin 
10188 Pte G Stringer 
10374 L-Cpl T Allen

Image courtesy of The History Place

24 June 2017

The Tank Corps: enlistments 1916-1919


The Tank Corps was formed from the Heavy Branch, Machine Gun Corps on the 27th July 1917 and so this year marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of this corps. That provides me with a great excuse - as if I needed one anyway -  to publish information on Tank Corps regimental numbering.

I am indebted to Mark Bailey and Howard Williamson who supplied the majority of the information below - Mark by diligently poring over hundreds of hard-to-read papers in WO 363 and WO 364, and Howard by studying thousands of entries in medal rolls. More of Howard's research on the Tank Corps can be found in volume two of his Great War Medal Collectors' Companion.

The photo above is taken comes from my collection and I'd love to know more about it. It comes from a significant archive which belonged to Old Contemptible George Anderson, formerly Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) and latterly Army Ordnance Corps. I suspect he's in this photo somewhere, but I have no idea which man he is.

Initially the Tank Corps recruited men who had experience of heavy vehicles and heavy machinery. Army Service Corps drivers, machine-gunners and artillerymen were all combed out of their units to join the newly-formed Tank Corps, and there are certainly patterns of former service to be found in the subsequent issue of regimental numbers to this corps. Use the numbers below to identify likely enlistment dates and - in some cases - former units served with. Numbers were issued in blocks of 1000 although there is evidence that large blocks of numbers were never used.

Finally, remember, I research soldiers!

40000 to 40500
40348 John Barter, joined on 05/06/1916
Howard Williamson notes that numbers in this range were issued to men who enlisted directly into the Tank Corps.

Numbers 40501 to 68999 do not appear to have been used.

69000 to 69999
69733 Clifford Baldwin, joined on 13/11/1916

70000 to 70200
Howard Williamson notes casualties from 1st December 1917. This band of 200 men largely transferred from cyclist companies.

Numbers 70200 to 74999 do not appear to have been used.

75000 to 75999
75516 George Edward Bailey, joined on 22/12/1916; formerly 8681 ACC
75640 Albert Edward Browning, joined on 31/12/1916; formerly 3051 London R

76000 to 76999
76290 Robert Allan, joined on 06/01/1917; formerly 614 ACC

77000 to 77999
Howard Williamson notes casualties from 28th July 1917

78000 to 78999
78008 John Oultram, joined on 17/11/1916; formerly 10644 ACC
78012 Samuel Waters, joined on 17/11/1916; formerly 361 ACC
78065 Thomas Harry Snary, joined on 18/11/1916; formerly 2524 Lond Cyc Coy
78110 William Humphreys, joined on 27/11/1916; formerly 21878 KOSB
78259 Harry Sherlock Holmes, joined on 02/12/1916; formerly 2203 Northern Cyc Bn
78384 Walter Leeming, joined on 04/12/1916; formerly 204 Training Reserve
78522 Arthur Dennis Tomes, joined on 11/12/1916; formerly 014031 AOC
78545 Alfred Thomas Millerson, joined on 11/12/1916; formerly 01034 AOC
78610 Harry Swift, joined on 14/12/1916; formerly DM2/223865 ASC (MT)
78671 Ernest Walter Sherriff, joined on 15/12/1916; formerly DM2/224124 ASC (MT)
78705 Charles John William Howlett, joined on 16/12/1916; formerly DM2/231070 ASC (MT)
78686 Frederick Chester Tiplady, joined on 19/12/1916; formerly 271 Lond Cyc Coy

Numbers 79000 to 90999 do not appear to have been used.

91000 to 91999
91613 Wilfred Arthur Austin, joined on 27/12/1916; formerly 1791(S) Royal Marine Artillery
91773 Alfred Edmund Leal, joined on 10/01/1917; formerly Army Res
91857 Edward Donkin Smith, joined on 12/01/1917; formerly 39186 Yorkshire Regt
91906 Gustav Stanley Degerland, joined on 11/01/1917; formerly T4/185879 ASC (666 Coy)
91907 John William Hobson, joined on 11/01/1917; formerly TS/9747 ASC (666 Coy)
91908 Arthur John Loker, joined on 11/01/1917; formerly TS/441 ASC (666 Coy)
91909 William Pratt, joined on 11/01/1917; formerly TS/9876 ASC (666 Coy)
91910 George Pratt, joined on 11/01/1917; formerly TS/9916 ASC (666 Coy)
91857 Edward Donkin Smith, joined on 12/01/1917; formerly 39186 Yorkshire Regt

92000 to 92999
92261 Robert Lewis Oates, joined on 15/01/1917; formerly 37889 York & Lancaster Regiment
92166 William Dalton Simpson Hendrie, joined on 20/01/1917; formerly M2/191652 ASC (MT)
92739 Samuel March, joined on 30/01/1917; formerly 10661 Essex

93000 to 93999
93074 Charles John Ballard, joined on 07/02/1917; formerly 32834 Essex
Howard Williamson does not note numbers in this range although Mark Bailey identified the man below, and there are plenty of numbers beginning 93* to be found on medal index cards.


Image, courtesy The National Archives

94000 to 94999 
Howard Williamson notes casualties from 29th November 1917. Men are transfers-in from line infantry and yeomanry regiments

95000 to 95999
95561 George Walter Spencer, joined on 18/02/1917; formerly 11906 Royal Berks
95122 Walter Dunbar, joined on 23/02/1917; formerly 3183 Royal Scots
95208 William Edward Judson, joined on 24/02/1917; formerly 6679 Yorkshire Regt

96000 to 96999
96684 Alfred William Woodcock, joined on 06/06/1917; formerly TR/13/51770 18 TRB
Howard Williamson notes these men are transfers-in from Training Reserve battalions.

97000 to 97999
97115 George Barker, joined on 23/06/1917; formerly M/205602 ASC (MT)
Howard Williamson notes these men are transfers-in from Army Service Corps.

Numbers 98000 to 98999 do not appear to have been used.

99000 to 99999
Scant evidence of these numbers but numbers within this block certainly were used:


Image, courtesy Ancestry

Numbers 100000 to 108999 do not appear to have been used.

109000 to 109999
109680 Francis Brown, joined on 02/07/1917; formerly 193435 RFA
109781 William Adams, joined on 08/07/1917; formerly 218488 RFA
Howard Williamson notes that men with numbers in this range were mostly transfers in from Royal Field Artillery.

110000 to 110999
110297 William Almond, joined on 02/07/1917; formerly 159943 RFA
110448 John Aldridge, joined on 05/07/1917; formerly 19990 East Lancashire Regt
Howard Williamson notes that men with numbers to 110413 were transfers in from Royal Field Artillery. Mark Bailey separately identifies 110448 John Aldridge who transfers in from line infantry.

111000 to 111999
111102 William Thomas Angel, joined on 09/07/1917; formerly 30464 SWB
111735 Leo Young, joined on 02/08/1917; formerly 194179 RFA
111951 Smith Shelton, joined on 31/07/1917; formerly RGA
Howard Williamson notes that the majority of these men were transfers-in from RHA and RFA.

112000 to 112999
112262 Thomas John Jones, joined on 07/08/1917; formerly 42185 RFA
112716 William Norbury Smith, joined on 11/08/1917; formerly 203313 RFA
112912 John Andrews, joined on 11/08/1917; formerly 200576 RFA
112542 Aric Alban Smith, joined on 25/08/1917; formerly 207675 RFA
Howard Williamson offers no results for men with numbers in this range, although Mark Bailey's evidence (above) indicates transfers-in from Royal Field Artillery.

Numbers 113000 to 199999 do not appear to have been used.

200000 to 200999
Howard Williamson notes that men with numbers in this range were transfers-in from men who were serving with the Machine Gun Corps, and specifically men with MGC numbers 1 to 3000, 32000 to 32500 and 38200 to 38999.

201000 to 201999
Similar to above, these men are transfers-in from men who were serving with the Machine Gun Corps (Howard Williamson).

202000 to 202999
Howard Williamson notes that men with numbers in this range were mostly transfers-in from men who were serving with the Machine Gun Corps.

Numbers 203000 to 204999 do not appear to have been used.

205000 to 205999
Numbers issued to men who previously served with a variety of units (Howard Williamson).

206000 to 206999
Howard Williamson notes that men with numbers in this range were mostly transfers-in from men who were serving with the Machine Gun Corps.

Numbers 207000 to 299999 do not appear to have been used.

300000 to 300999
300409 James Smith, joined on 07/08/1917; formerly 131174 RFA
300234 William Ashurst, joined on 10/08/1917; formerly 83200 RFA
Howard Williamson notes men with numbers in this range are transfers-in from RHA and RFA.

301000 to 301999
301188 Ernest Calvert, joined on 25/08/1917; formerly 85288 RFA
301236 William Bale, joined on 29/08/1917; formerly 98643 RFA
301339 Ralph Brown, joined on 29/11/1917; formerly 2622 RFA MMGS
301850 James Allen, joined on 15/12/1917; formerly 2842 E Lancs

302000 to 302999
302187 William Henry Wilson, joined on 09/10/1917; formerly M2/182480 ASC (MT)
302729 Patrick Burke, joined on 15/02/1918; formerly 2264 QR Glasgow Yeomanry
302992 Robert Smith, joined on 31/08/1918; formerly 315 Black Watch

303000 to 303999
303026 George Barrett, joined on 13/10/1918; formerly T/24716 ASC
303075 Alfred Ernest Barber, joined on 15/11/1918; formerly 36732 London R

304000 to 304999
304233 William Albert Ascough, joined on 14/12/1917; formerly 57622 Liverpool R
304516 William Atherton, joined on 20/12/1917; formerly 15284 Lancashire Fusiliers
304897 George Harry Brown, joined on 25/12/1917; formerly 34063 Glosters
304882 Ernest Wilson, joined on 28/12/1917; formerly 2314 N Irish Horse

305000 to 305999
305055 Samuel Wilson, joined on 28/12/1917; formerly 17864 Black Watch
305011 John Brown, joined on 01/01/1918; formerly 18577 Gordon Hr
305855 Rueben Frank Young, joined on 11/01/1918; formerly 1880 RE
305817 Robert James Hedger, joined on 17/01/1918; formerly 519699 RE

306000 to 306999
306164 Edward Smith, joined on 18/01/1918; formerly 65739 RE
306844 George William Abbot, joined on 18/01/1918; formerly 414 Dorset RE

307000 to 307999
307044 Cuthbert Mark Smith, joined on 19/01/1918; formerly 148192 RFA (then RE)
307635 Arthur Charles Young, joined on 21/01/1918; formerly 39113 RFC
307849 John Duncan Alexander, joined on 23/01/1918; formerly 18500 Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

308000 to 308999
308349 Sidney Maynard Hay, joined on 29/01/1918; formerly T2/450 ASC
308790 Arthur Henry Ferris, joined on 08/02/1918; formerly 39398 R Berks
308837 George Devlin Tasker, joined on 08/02/1918; formerly T1/4631 ASC

309000 to 309999
309341 Sydney Woodcock, joined on 31/03/1918; formerly 63542 RFC
309601 Albert Henry Humphries, joined on 13/04/1918; formerly 141717 Labour C
309703 Frank Gilbert Pollard, joined on 13/04/1918; formerly 2957 Gloucs

310000 to 310999
310110 Oliver James Marshall, joined on 19/08/1918
310157 Silas Groves, joined on 19/08/1918
311213 James Brown, joined on 20/08/1918
310942 Thomas Humphries, joined on 26/08/1918; formerly 279946 RFA
Howard Williamson notes men with numbers in this range are transfers-in from miscellaneous units based at home.

311000 to 311999
311532 John Allan, joined on 29/08/1918; formerly 251075 RFA
Howard Williamson notes men with numbers in this range are transfers-in from miscellaneous units based at home.

312000 to 312999
312162 John Henry Archer, joined on 31/08/1918; formerly 136378 Labour C
312408 Arthur Robert Brown, joined on 02/09/1918; formerly 174600 Army Res
Howard Williamson notes men with numbers in this range are transfers-in from home-based men.

313000 to 313999
313113 Adam Brown, joined on 04/09/1918
313084 William Wilson, joined on 07/09/1918; formerly 22064 AVC
313626 George Harold Mills, joined on 10/09/1918; formerly D/29285 4 Res Regt Dgns
Howard Williamson notes men with numbers in this range are transfers-in from home-based men.

314000 to 314999
314025 Donald Fowler Brown, joined on 13/09/1918; formerly D/22051 4 Res Regt Dgns
Howard Williamson notes men with numbers in this range are transfers-in from home-based men.

315000 to 315999
315834 William Henry Barton, joined on 20/09/1918; formerly TR/5/131516 86 TR Bn
Howard Williamson notes men with numbers in this range are transfers-in from Training Reserve battalions.

316000 to 316999
316022 Thomas Ivor Baldwin, joined on 17/09/1918; formerly TR/5/174061 113 TR Bn
316884 George Henry Angus, joined on 17/09/1918; formerly TR/5/187178 20 TR Bn
Howard Williamson notes men with numbers in this range are transfers-in from home-based men.

317000 to 317999
317288 Walter Thomas Rowe, joined on 05/09/1918
317493 George Mills, joined on 27/09/1918
317535 Harry Young, joined on 27/09/1918
317580 Charles Brown, joined on 30/09/1918; formerly Army Res
317950 Daniel Humphreys, joined on 31/10/1918; formerly 4430 KSLI

318000 to 318999
318101 John Adamson, joined on 08/11/1918; formerly 15326 Gordon Hr
318393 George Brown, joined on 21/04/1919

319000 to 320999
319327 Robert Hay, joined on 21/06/1919

320000 to 320999


Image, courtesy Ancestry

321000 to 321999
321501 Thomas Wilson, joined on 08/03/1919; formerly 201507 L N Lancs

320000 to 321999
320288 James Atkins, joined on 22/07/1919
320858 Alfred William Bacon, joined on 06/08/1919

322000 to 322999
322227 James Sidney Baines, joined on 07/07/1919; formerly 253998 RFA
322286 George Thomas Brown, joined on 07/07/1919; formerly 254728 RFA